Police, Animal Control and Code compliance release annual reports
By LYNETTE SOWELL
The City of Copperas Cove’s Police Department, which also oversees Animal Control and Code Compliance, recently released its annual support for the calendar year 2017.
One of the biggest changes to come for the police department in 2017 was the institution of geographic policing, along with the Cove Watch Program, in which information is immediately sent to residents via text message and/or email directly from the department. In 2017, 1,167 participants registered for the program. It was noted that home video surveillance is becoming a regular thing, and so the department also began a video surveillance program, with 196 residents signing on.
“To take advantage of this growing trend, we are partnering with residents and business owners to use these neighborhood video surveillance systems to provide another investigative resource in both solving and preventing crime. This program is another example of how vigilant our citizens are when it comes to standing up against the bad guys,” Chief of Police Eddie Wilson stated in the report.
Also connected with community involvement, there were 52 tours given of the department, compared to 11 in 2016. The department nearly doubled its number of press releases, issuing 81 in 2017 compared to 47 in 2016.
One murder was committed in Copperas Cove in 2017, which resulted in arrests within several days, with three adults and one juveniles facing charges related to that crime.
Where personnel are concerned, the Copperas Cove Police Department filled a total of 14 vacancies in the department, hiring seven police officers and seven civilian positions, receiving 248 and 587 applications for those positions, respectively.
Copperas Cove police officers responded to 18,049 calls for service in 2017, which is slightly less compared to calls for service in 2016 at 18,203. Officers issued 5,600 traffic citations and 10,493 warnings, to include both verbal and written warnings, in 2017.
For Covites, the highest number of traffic citations was for speeding at 2,204, followed by 748 vehicle registration violations and 536 financial responsibility violations.
Class C citations numbered 380 for the year, with the top three citations being for possession of drug paraphernalia at 78, followed by theft at 67, and assault by contact at 60.
Where juvenile crime is concerned, there were a total of 23 local felony juvenile arrests with 20 males and three females. For misdemeanors, 89 juveniles were arrested, 59 males and 30 females.
For DWIs, the CCPD made 107 arrests in 2017, compared to 77 in 2016.
This was the 32nd annual report for the police department, with Animal Control having prepared an annual report since 2003.
Last year, 1,079 dogs were impounded, with 378 of them being adopted and 408 returned to owner, and 97 were euthanized. The department impounded 774 cats, of which 312 were adopted and 30 returned to owner, with 296 being euthanized.
The department reported that since the creation of its monthly adoption events in 2014, 39 events have been held with the adoption of 634 total animals, with the adoption fee being waived.
The Animal Control Department received 6,786 calls for service in 2017, compared to 6243 in 2016.
Its citations were up 43 percent compared to 2016, with 354 citations issued in 2017. Incident reports were up as well for 2017, compared to 2016, with a 25 percent increase, with 133 reports compared to 106. These reports include animal attacks and bites, as well as cat scratches when there is a potential for rabies, public nuisances, and cruelty to animals.
City ordinance violations for last year included 65 domestic pet at large, 80 no rabies vaccinations, 53 with no collar and city license, and 56 for failure to microchip.
The city’s Code Compliance & Health Department has three full-time staff. Last year, the department trained a total of 893 food handlers and conducted 11 on-site training classes for volunteer food handlers. The Code Compliance Department works with the Copperas Cove Police Department to identify and rectify code violations within the City, especially tackling blighted areas.
The department’s three officers cover the 17.84 square miles within the Copperas Cove limits. Last year, 377 complaints were received from citizens and other agencies, with 227 of the complaints being unfounded. According to the report, the goal of the department is to address complaints within 48 hours. Last year, there were 3,707 investigated code violations, which came about by patrol of streets and alleyways. Those residents with violations aren’t typically ticketed, at first.
“In most cases, a written warning is generated giving a ten-day time period for a violation to be corrected. An attempt to serve the warning in person is always made to provide an opportunity to educate the citizen. In many cases, the violator is unaware of the city ordinance and a higher degree of success is achieved when getting to interact with a citizen. Some violations require a citation to be issued immediately in gaining compliance.”
Last year’s top five code violations were 1,229 for high grass, 542 for junk/rubbish/trash, 464 vegetation in right of way, 270 for vehicle on the grass, and 239 for trash can out too early or left out late. Of those warnings, 43 violations were cited.
In cases where violations aren’t corrected, the city pays for an abatement, which it provided for 45 properties in 2017 at a cost of $2,736. Of that 45 abatements, 30 liens were filed against properties where the expenses could not be recovered.
The department also performed 363 health inspections in 2017, and certified 450 food handlers and 554 volunteer food handlers. A total of 15 Blue Plate Awards were presented to local businesses, which scored 100 percent on their annual evaluation.